Sagicor targets $75m for charities through SIGMA run
From left: Sagicor Life Insurance Company Executive Vice-President Mark Chisholm; Sagicor Group Jamaica President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Zacca; meet patron Asafa Powell; University Hospital of The West Indies Paediatric Unit official Dr Roxanne Melbourne-Chambers; and race organiser Alfred Francis pose for photos at the Jamaica Observer's Press Club event at its headquarters in St Andrew, Thursday regarding the upcoming Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run next month. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

Sagicor Group Jamaica President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Zacca says that the Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run will seek to raise $75 million for charity this year.

The 5K walk-run race, which will take place on a street course from New Kingston to Half-Way-Tree and back, is scheduled for Sunday, February 12.

This figure will be the largest target for Sagicor in the 25 years of the event in which it has previously raised over $50 million.

The beneficiaries this year will be the University Hospital of the West Indies' Paediatric Unit (UHWIPU) and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

The fund-raiser typically focuses on health facilities across the island, but Zacca says Edna Manley was considered because organisers decided to "think outside the box" this year.

"We don't pay enough attention to culture and arts in this country," Zacca said during the Jamaica Observer's Press Club event yesterday. "I think as a corporate citizen I'm very happy that we're putting a part of the $75 million towards Edna Manley."

Sagicor Life Insurance Company Executive Vice-President Mark Chisholm says the UHWIPU was considered because the group is focused on children's welfare.

"Our conscience and our culture speak to how we deal with children," he said. "That is a big part of our portfolio — children and education. I think it will be a masterpiece event, our 25th anniversary.

"Edna Manley is a part of education also, and artisans and culture is something that is very important to the Jamaican environment, so we continue to contribute as a corporate citizen."

Dr Roxanne Melbourne-Chambers, representing UHWIPU, says they appreciate Sagicor's support for paediatric departments and institutions throughout the years. She is hoping the funds raised can improve the physical space used by the department.

"We operate in a space that was erected as a temporary structure in 1961," she said. "Although we offer optimal care and we train majority of the paediatricians in Jamaica, it is quite a bit of a stress when a family comes to that institution and the physical facilities are nowhere near what they should be. We think it's well past time that we look at improving our physical structure.

"It ought to be a space that is wonderful for healing for the child but also that supports the family."

The 5k will take a familiar route through the streets of St Andrew. The starting line will be placed on Knutsford Boulevard. Participants will then turn left on to Trafalgar Road, continuing on to Waterloo Road. From there they make a left turn on to West King's House Road, then another left on to Constant Spring Road. The race then continues from Constant Spring Road up Hope Road, then right on to Winchester Road. Participants then turn right on to Ruthven Road and then make a left on to Half-Way-Tree Road. They then move on to Oxford Road and finish the race at Emancipation Park in New Kingston.

This is the first running of the race with a full complement of participants since February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Race organiser Alfred Francis says he expects the funds raised to exceed the target.

"This year, we have tried to get back to where we were," he said. "We have ordered 26,050 bibs.

"As usual, the highest standard, globally, will be maintained at the event with the electronic timing system, the course, the marshalling from the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force."

Corporate teams are allowed up to 125 entries each at a cost of $2,000 per person, although smaller corporate teams can field 55 members at the same cost. Individuals competing will pay a registration fee of $2,500 by Friday, January 27.

BY RACHID PARCHMENT Digital sports coordinator parchmentr@jamaicaobserver.com

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